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Newton's Turtle Lane Playhouse to close at the end of the year

Posted by Deidre Fernandes  June 6, 2012 05:12 PM

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Turtle Lane Playhouse, the Newton community theater company that brought Broadway musicals to the local audience for 31 years and launched aspiring actors with its summer camps for children, is closing at the end of the year.

The playhouse, in the heart of Auburndale village, will end its run on Dec. 31, said Alicia Gordon, a spokeswoman and volunteer with the theater.

Doris “Bobsie” Mitton bought the former Auburndale club building and converted it into a theater in 1981. Mitton has been the artistic director and is ready to step away, Gordon said.

“It’s really a loss,” said Linda Plaut, director of Newton’s Cultural Center.

Turtle Lane was a place for Newton residents who didn’t want to go into Boston to catch a show, Plaut said.

But it also provided a venue for amateur adult performers, she said.

Newton has theater programs for young children and high school teens, but fewer options for adults, Plaut said.

“It’s not just a loss for the audience, but for the performers,” Plaut said.

It’s unclear what will happen to the building after Dec. 31, Gordon said.

The theater has been operating at a loss in recent years, according to its non-profit tax forms. In 2010, the latest information available, the theater operated $30,000 in the red, according to the tax forms.

Turtle Lane’s final season will launch on Friday with a production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” The company will also perform “The Who’s Tommy” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” as part of its farewell season in the fall.

Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at deirdre.fernandes@globe.com

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